It is impossible to not approach this week without addressing what is happening in the United States. People are protesting all over North America and the world for the death of George Floyd who was in police custody in Minneapolis.
This is not about who has had a more difficult personal life than someone else. It is about how people are treated differently and judged by the colour of their skin. Black Lives Matter does not discount that Women’s Lives Matter or Native Lives Matter or Everyone’s Life Matters. It is that RIGHT NOW we need to focus on Black Lives. RIGHT NOW, Black people are dying. When things change in our society so that every Black person can feel safe with our communities, with our police, with our courts, with our governments, then EVERYONE will be safer.
For those who have not seen my videos or a picture of me, I am a middle-aged white woman. I grew up in a predominantly conservative white community in South Western Ontario. I totally admit that I have huge blind spots to my own privilege and to areas that I am inadvertently racist. Instead of being complacent and staying that way, I am striving to educate myself and ask uncomfortable questions of myself. I am stepping up when I see injustice and speaking out when I notice a difference in how people are treated.
When contemplating writing this article there was fear. Fear of being too political. Fear of losing potential future contracts because I stood up publicly to say, “this has to stop”. But the consequences are so small for me compared to what has been happening to our Black family all over the United States, Canada, UK and all over the world.
I have been making an effort to educate my self with all the material that has been posted recently and what has been posted over history. Now there is a natural pull to want to approach my cousin, my business coach or my clients on what their lives have been like and what they think the solution is, but when you step back and look at it this is an insensitive thing to do. This is what life has been like because of something outside themselves. It is like asking a cancer patient from environmental factors what would heal them. They did not choose the environment.
Those of us with privilege need to educate ourselves. We need to more fully understand the consequences of our actions and force our societies to make changes that are equitable for all. Now I am very mindful about saying equitable and not equal. As in the illustration in this article, being given the same will not necessarily mean that everyone will be able to reach or achieve at the same level. Because of generations of being stonewalled, much more support will need to go to some and less to others to ensure that there is an equal opportunity for growth and to create a life of opportunity.
Right now we are in a time of great disruption that is tearing apart what we thought was the only way life could be. Instead of mourning that, we need to see this as an opportunity to change from the roots up, We need to really look at what we want our society to be after this and how we want to shift our interactions with each other. Change is the new normal and we need to flow with that change and help that transformation so we can equitably rise.
NOTE: I have added some links from Facebook of voices of people I know and have worked with that may help expand and bring understanding. I hope that they are helpful.